Microsoft pushes users to Office XP

Microsoft has stopped supplying Office 2000 to distributors in an effort to push customers to Office XP.

Microsoft has stopped supplying Office 2000 to distributors in an effort to push customers to Office XP.

Tech Pacific marketing manager Scott Cowan says the distributor has stopped taking orders for Office 2000 as the product is no longer available. The other major Microsoft distributor, Express Data, is no longer listing Office 2000 among products on its website. It has not been able to order Office 2000 since May last year, when Office XP launched.

While Cowan notes that only small business and home users buy Microsoft products through the wider sales channel, a similar move by Microsoft in the UK has stirred up consternation among some system administrators. Computerworld sister publication PC Advisor reports that the situation has been disrupting businesses in the UK as IT managers subject Office XP to rigorous testing to check its compatibility with Office 2000.

But Microsoft New Zealand product manager Todd Hunter assures users that there won’t be any major compatibility issues for organisations looking at running both or switching from one to the other.

“We have been very careful about that, because there were issues between Office 2000 and Office 97. We’ve done a lot of testing to ensure there will be none between 2000 and XP.”

Regarding availability of Office 2000, Hunter says Office XP gives “downgrade” rights so users can run any version of Office they want. “So if you buy XP you can run 2000.” He says corporate customers who have a Select licensing agreement already have the Office 2000 CD and can still buy extra Office 2000 licences, while small business and home customers can get Office 2000 from Microsoft Services.

Two organisations contacted by Computerworld appear largely unperturbed by the change. Manukau Institute of Technology is currently rolling out Office XP to 600 desktops. MIT project manager James Reece says the IS department has been running both products on the same machine and staff have been using Office XP since the beginning of the year.

“We’ve played around with Windows XP, Office XP and Office 2000. I prefer Office 2000 because it’s more stable but we are implementing XP. We’re a teaching unit so we have to provide the latest and greatest,” he says. “We’ve ironed out a couple of minor bugs in Office XP, but I can’t say there’s been anything that’s given us cause for worry.”

Transit New Zealand uses Office 2000 but is not concerned about Office XP at this stage.

Transit New Zealand IS manager Geoff Yeats says the department’s migration to the new software will be based on business needs. “Our Select agreement allows us to hang on to [Office] 2000 for as long as we want. If and when [Office] XP offers a business advantage that’s when we’ll look at rolling it out.”

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